Gun Makers Finding Open Arms in More 'Gun-Friendly' States

Wednesday, 08 Jan 2014 07:51 AM

By Melissa Clyne

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States enacting restrictive gun laws are taking the heat from firearm manufacturers, who are making good on promises to take their business elsewhere.

Connecticut’s loss of assault-rifle and pistol manufacturer PTR Industries is South Carolina’s gain. The 37-employee company headed south last year following Connecticut’s passage of some of the most restrictive gun laws in the nation.

It is now illegal to purchase dozens of firearms in the state, including the AR-15, the country’s most popular firearm and the weapon used to kill 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. on Dec. 14, 2012, according to the New York Times. Anyone owning the newly banned weapons had until Jan. 1 to register them with the state police or face a felony charge with up to a year in jail.

According to The New York Times, legislators in more gun-friendly states, such as South Carolina, are actively recruiting firearm manufacturers, offering tax breaks and cash grants.

In tiny Aynor, S.C., 29 miles northwest of Myrtle Beach, PTR was able to buy a 58,000-square-foot facility for $3 million and reportedly received an undisclosed amount of tax rebates, Fox News reports. The company hopes to employ 120 people by 2017, according to CEO Josh Fiorini.

In a pre-emptive letter to the Connecticut legislature, Fiorini warned that "intensive firearm regulations on the general population are a real threat to our ability to conduct business even if they exempt federally licensed manufacturers."

Rifle and pistol manufacturer Kahr Firearms Group moved across the border from its Rockland County, N.Y. location to Pennsylvania, and stricter gun laws in Maryland prompted Beretta to halt plans to add more jobs, according to the Times.

Beretta is looking to expand in a more "gun-friendly state," the Times noted, adding that seven states have emerged as finalists, including South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia.

Republican Govs. Rick Perry of Texas and Dennis Daugaard of South Dakota have both visited Connecticut and toured sites such as the Colt factory in Hartford.

"For states that successfully woo firearms makers, it means new jobs in an industry where sales are rising rapidly and blue-collar work still pays well," the Times reported.

Ammunition manufacturer Magpul, meanwhile, has vowed to relocate 200 employees to a more gun-friendly state after a July 1 law enacted in Colorado banned magazines that hold more than 15 bullets.

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